Google March 2024 Core Update Ranking Changes Have Begun

Mar 9, 2024 - 8:45 pm 602 by
Filed Under Google Updates

Google Logo Core Explosion

Today is the first day I have seen solid evidence of serious ranking volatility and changes related to the big Google March 2024 Core Update. As a reminder, the Google March 2024 Core Update officially started on March 5, 2024, and will take up to a month to roll out fully. We are expecting numerous ranking changes during the next few weeks.

Google said this core update should reduce the amount of unhelpful, low-quality, unoriginal content in its search results by 40%. Google is pushing out changes to numerous systems within the overall core ranking system, which is why it will take around a month to roll out and which is why you should expect ranking volatility numerous times throughout this roll out period.

Today I am seeing signs from both SEO professionals and site owners and also the automated Google tracking tools that this update has landed today, March 9th. Some saw early signs yesterday as well.

Also, keep in mind, Google dished out tons of manual action penalties on March 6th and 7th, mostly related to "pure spam" penalties. This is different from the core update or even the spam update, because manual actions are not algorithmic and you will get notified of a penalty in Google Search Console - I explain more over here.

Google Tracking Tools On March 2024 Core Update:

As you can see, most of the tools started to spike a bit on Friday, March 8th, but really started to show big volatility on Saturday, March 9th. I expect even more volatility to show tomorrow, Sunday, March 10th - I may update this story with more details then, so check back tomorrow:

Mozcast:

Mozcast

Semrush:

Semrush

SERPmetrics:

Serpmetrics

Accuranker:

Accuranker

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitiveseo

SimilarWeb:

Similarweb

Mangools:

Mangools

Advanced Web Rankings:

Advancedwebranking

Wincher:

Wincher

SERPstat:

Serpstat

Algoroo:

Algoroo

SEO Chatter

Here is some of the SEO chatter of people talking about this update kicking in. This is across X, WebmasterWorld, Black Hat World and the over 1,200 comments here:

Traffic is terrible this morning. Google vs spammers battle is more intense than ever. And they are not using precision munitions either. They are dropping nukes. Collateral damage is immense. Spammers are changing tactics. Reddit, Medium, Linkedin Pulse are turning into Blogspot style spam dumps. Quality of search continues to steadily decline. It's Spamaggeddon!

Strangely, GSC shows a corresponding increase in indexed pages to around 150k for 1 ccTLD. It only has around 1200 pages to index. All noindex's are checked and in order, so what's going on, I wonder.

No manual penalties reported.

There is tremendous volatility on many queries right now. A guide of mine with several solutions on android auto problems is surpassed by news sites that give a solution that there was on a certain day a few years ago. Obviously this solution no longer works and is not valid for all the problems that can be had with the operation of Android auto, moreover these news dealt with only a bug of a version of Android auto. Once My article used to be among the top positions, rightly so Since it has all the possible solutions to try for solve.

I'm hoping that this is a Search Console bug too. But the other thing that my GA4 must be glitching too, because it also shows drop to 2 clicks per day. But...

I'm checking my Semrush, checking Hrefs numbers - they are all showing some changes (~10%), but no drop to zero or something like that. Hoping this is a glitch...

I am not seeing a huge decline in overall traffic, but this morning there is a big increase in traffic to obscure lower-level pages and also from unusual locations. I am also seeing single product pages with unusually high levels of visits from different unique visitors. It's as if this one item suddenly rocketed to the top of searches and lots of people clicked it, then it dropped out of sight again. So I think there must be a lot of churning going on now as the pattern of visits is very different from the norm. The steady decline in converting traffic continues...zero serious inquiries from USA, UK, CA, AU or UAE...it's like the blood being drained out of my business. I did get an inquiry from Mongolia though...no joke.

This remains to be seen, though many will believe it simply because Google said it. Instead observe the serps for evidence. I see numerous very high quality websites have taken a huge hit in the last few days. By high quality I'm talking about site's created by professionals with degrees in their fields who have so much EEAT it is oozing out of their eyeballs. My observation suggests the facts don't back up the claim about Google very easily penalizing AI sites. But we are still early in this update to come to any definitive conclusions.

USA traffic is -31% today, so something is definitely kicking in in the USA SERPS. My overall search traffic is actually up slightly, and UK, AU, CA, and most of Europe ex France is very high today.

I see a slight increase today, as opposed to the last 3 days and compared to the last 3 Saturdays - Saturday is an important mark for one of my sites. So, on this site I see a small increase.

Seeing a lot of sites drop total traffic i.e no impressions but page still shows on the index

All the URLs of my sites are indexed but the organic traffic from Google seems to have disappeared.

I've noticed a 70% drop in traffic on some of my websites since they started implementing this c#$@ on March 5th.

All of them are fast, clean, without ai and backlink spam, about 1 year old.

So I really think this March 2024 core update started to dig its heels in today.

What are you all seeing?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World.

Update: Sunday, many of the tracking tools are showing a dip in volatility, which means things calmed the next day... Not all the charts are updated yet, so here is a GIF of some of the updated charts:

Calming Graphs

Here is some updated SEO Chatter from WebmasterWorld:

From yesterday. my impressions in GSC started showing again.

During update this website decreased from 3k impressions to 38 per day.

For yesterday, the data in GSC shows ~300 impressions.

And from today, I'm seeing visitors from Google again. I believe, it's not a glitch, it's a rollout of this update, the hope things will change positive in a few days.

My website is back in Discover and I've had better numbers since yesterday than I've had for a long time. My most important search terms have also improved significantly in the rankings, but I can also see that many other search terms have lost ground. Without the articles that bring in a lot of clicks via Discover, the traffic via Google would be rather poor.

my traffic today -23% compared to the same day last week.

Update on Monday, March 11: Both the chatter and the tracking tools seem to continue to calm from this past weekend's volatility. Here is a GIF of some of the tools as of Monday morning:

Google Tracking Tools Monday

 

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